Remote excavation tool

Lightweight, high-speed, and compact implement enables excavation anywhere


This high-speed, lightweight excavator can be attached to several platforms including self-propelled via robot, tractor-deployed or manually pushed.

Typical tilling and excavation machines operate under low RPM’s (less than 250) and are heavy enough to utilize weight to penetrate soil. Blades are normally aligned parallel to the ground and operate in a scraping motion.  Such machines are suited for operation in soft soils where churning is the objective. However, for hard soils or manufactured materials, such tools are inadequate as they simply bounce off the surface.

In order to address excavation, tilling, and trenching projects involving hard surfaces in difficult or remote locations, Navy researchers have developed a machine with unique capabilities.  This excavator can be attached to a robotic platform, tractor or it can be manually propelled. The cutting end is an array of blades spinning up to 2,500 RPM and oriented perpendicular to the ground. Angled brushes inserted between the blades throw excavated material out of the way. The device has been designed to utilize a “high cycle, low force” methodology that enables greater control of the cutting depth.  Applications include the tilling, trenching, or excavating of hard or soft material.

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